Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua: ‘I’ve Been Listening To A lot of Virgil Hunter’

Anthony Joshua is apparently trying to soak in as much boxing knowledge from as many sources as possible for his upcoming rematch against Oleksandr Usyk.

The former British heavyweight, one of the biggest stars in the boxing firmament, recently let on that he has been immersing himself in the training tidbits of American trainer Virgil Hunter, best known for his work with retired two-division titlist Andre Ward.  

“I’m a fan of boxing,” Joshua said in an Instagram Live session. “Away from actually competing in it, I watch a lot of boxing. Listen to a lot of people that talk about boxing.

“At the minute, I’ve been listening to a lot of Virgil Hunter, who’s an experienced coach and trainer of Andre Ward. So I’ve been listening to a lot of Virgil Hunter recently.”

It is not clear if Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) is referring to personal advice from Hunter, or if he is simply referring to existing videos or audio media of Hunter on the internet. In any case, Joshua appears to be friendly with Hunter. Joshua spent time with Hunter as early as last October, when he dropped by Hunter’s gym in Hayward, California for a workout.

“That’s my guy,” Joshua said of Hunter.

The visit, in fact, was part of Joshua’s larger attempt to find a new instructor after his unanimous points loss last September against Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. During the same trip, Joshua also made visits with Eddy Reynoso, the trainer of unified 168-pound champion Canelo Alvarez, Robert Garcia, the trainer of flyweight titlist Jesse Rodriguez, and Ronnie Shields, the trainer of middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo.

Joshua, 32, has been coy about with whom he will be working ahead of the rematch against WBO/WBA/IBF titlist Usyk, which has not yet been officially announced, though it appears his longtime trainer Rob McCracken will no longer be at the helm of his corner.

The almost obsessive search for a new trainer indicates the difficult task that lies ahead for Joshua. In their first fight, Joshua had virtually no answer for the dexterity of the Ukrainian southpaw, whose feints, busy jab, and overhand left hands had the Londoner reeling in the late rounds. 

Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, told reporters last week that he expects Joshua to announce his new trainer in “two weeks.”

In addition to Ward, Hunter is also known for his work with welterweights Amir Khan and Mario Barrios. Hunter is also the head trainer of one of Joshua’s friends and managerial clients, the British light heavyweight contender Joshua Buatsi.  

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